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Whitmer: Recent trip to help father in Florida was ‘not a vacation’

She said the weekend trip in March was to care for her ill father and ‘not a gift’
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer holds a press conference on COVID-19.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer holds a press conference on COVID-19.(source: State of Michigan)
Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 12:20 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defended her trip to Florida in March as necessary to take care of her ill father.

Whitmer said no tax dollars were used to pay for the trip, it was “not a vacation,” it was “not a gift” and she remained engaged with her administration remotely for the entire time she was in the Sunshine State. She said the trip was part of her duty as the daughter of an ill father, who needed help.

Republicans held a press conference on Wednesday condemning the trip, because it took place in March when Whitmer and state health officials advised against out-of-state travel. Michigan was in a COVID-19 surge at the time and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services encouraged residents not to travel for spring break.

Whitmer said she was open and honest during the campaign for governor in 2018 that she has responsibilities as a mother and as a daughter of aging parents.

“This is a part of my story,” Whitmer said during a press conference Wednesday morning. “And so for anyone to be surprised that I had a family member who’s been having a lot of health issues that I showed up to check in. I don’t think they’re not -- they’re obviously not paying attention to who I am and what I do.”

Whitmer said she left Lansing on a Friday evening and returned on a Monday morning. She did not address concerns that wealthy businessmen from the Detroit area provided the jet she took south.

“It was not a vacation and it was not a gift,” Whitmer said. “This was a quick trip that I took.”

She said the trip involved a lot of cooking and cleaning for her father, along with taking part in regular calls and video conferences with her team.

“When you’re the governor of Michigan, you’re always on the clock. But it doesn’t mean that you’re not also a daughter who shows up when a family member needs her,” Whitmer said. “When a family member of mine needs a little help, though, I’m going to show up, just like when we have a crisis here, we’re going to work 24/7 to keep the people the state safe.”

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